Though the Old Goa Police has arrested the accused involved in the assault on former St Cruz MLA Victor Gonsalves, locals have expressed displeasure as the action came very late and moreover, lenient charges were pressed against the accused, which ultimately led to his bail.
Chimbel local Paul Fernandes stated that it was the primary duty of the police to arrest the accused immediately after Gonsalves complained of the assault, but the delay by the police suggests that there was political influence.
“Police never took cognizance of the offence,” he said and added "attempt to murder charges should have been pressed since the accused took law into his own hands by trespassing and assaulting the former MLA."
Stating that the primary fault lies with the Old Goa Police since they waited to arrest the accused till his anticipatory bail plea was rejected, Santa Cruz local Marian Araujo was miffed that the attempt to murder charge was not pressed against the accused.
“Money and political pressure played a big role in the entire incident,” he alleged and opined that in the future anybody will take law into his own hands as the police are soft on criminals.
A Merces local, Michael Dias, also condemned the attitude of the police in delaying the arrest of the accused even though the police were aware of his whereabouts.
He further expressed surprise over the lenient charges pressed against the accused and alleged that the police did so to give an escape route to the accused. “If an assault on a former MLA is taken so lightly, what will be the fate of the common man who takes up social causes,” said Dias, who is an activist in Merces.
Blaming the police for their lax attitude, another Merces local, who wished to remain anonymous, suggested that the police should have taken into consideration the medical condition of Gonsalves who was admitted in the ICU for eight days and accordingly should have pressed for attempt to murder charge. [H]